Random Thoughts

1. Teaching a fitness class without being allowed to participate is difficult.  It’s super tough to judge how hard people might be working, and I kinda think they wuss out a bit more than if I was going hard right beside them.

2. Teaching a fitness class without music is also pretty weird.  Yup – totally forgot my iPod at home this morning and had no music at all.

3. “Not participating” in silence is super boring, even while counting reps and motivating participants the whole time.

4. Maybe my participants didn’t work as hard because of the lack of music, rather than the lack of an instructor sweating along with them…hmmm.

5. My town is getting a dog park, and that is super exciting!

6. I have joined the dog park committee, which probably makes me a little stupid.  Because I don’t have enough to keep my waking hours occupied already.

7. I looked at my calendar today and realized that I do not have a single day between now and the end of the school year without something going on.

8.  July 1st is the next day where I have nothing planned.

9. July 1st cannot come soon enough.

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Off to Jamaica, Mon!

So I feel like this has become a pretty standard statement for me, but this week has been hectic (and it’s only Wednesday!): an all day trip to the city with my Mom on Saturday; marking papers, cleaning house, and doing my own yoga homework on Sunday; a jam-packed Monday full of all sorts of things at school – plus Rob came home, but that’s exciting 🙂  Yesterday I taught my fitness class in the morning, taught high school classes all day, went to two appointments after school, and then had to pick up groceries for a school event.  Today we had a “compressed day” of classes, with a staff meeting after school and then Parent-Teacher interviews until 8pm.

Tomorrow is nuts too…Sunrise Sweat class at 6am, then finishing some marking that I’d like to get out of the way, morning supervision before school, a full day of classes, lunch time supervision, the student group I lead has an “eating contest” planned at lunch that I need to get ready and oversee, and then we must have our dogs at the boarding kennel about 2 1/2 hours away by 6pm.  Normally this would be a rush, but apparently they are expecting a crazy snow storm in and around Edmonton tomorrow, so I’m not sure we will make it in time to get the dogs to the kennel 😦  Except that we HAVE to, because Rob and I are headed to Jamaica, mon!  School ends for the day at 3:24, so I will be walking out the door at 3:25; here’s hoping the roads are good.

We are going back to the same resort we got married at last Easter Monday, and we CAN’T WAIT!!!

The water and the beach are just so beautiful in Runaway Bay! This is a dock just a few steps away from our resort; it made for great photo options.
- Photo by Kathy Lovell

It’s not quite our one year anniversary yet (about 3 weeks shy), but the Easter break is really my only option for a holiday, so we’ll take it.  We weren’t really sure if we’d be able to go, but Breezes gave us four anniversary nights free with our wedding package, and we were able to find super cheap flights, so we took the plunge and decided to go back this year.  Last year I ran on that beach in the early mornings, and I’m really looking forward to doing that again.  I’m bringing my travel yoga mat too, so I can practice on the beach after my runs.  It is so very beautiful there, and just the thought of a morning workout in Jamaica makes me want to jump for joy 🙂

Our super awesome wedding party getting some air!
- photo by Kathy Lovell

 

Getting (less) Serious with Myself

I’ve posted in the past about how busy my life gets, and in light of the medical problems I’ve been experiencing over the last 8 months, I’m just not sure that it’s worth it anymore to run myself ragged.  My husband and I have some big decisions to make in the next few months, but no matter what we decide, one thing is very clear:  I need to take better care of myself.  That includes exercising and eating well – which I’ve already been doing for quite some time – but it also includes making more time for me so that my head does not explode in some crazy mental breakdown.  This is a distinct possibility if I don’t make some serious changes very soon.

REALLY? This isn't what comes to mind when I think of exercising with my dog - if I tried this with Jax I would definitely fall over.

Though I always manage to fit in some form of exercise, some weeks I don’t get to sweat nearly as much as I would like.  So in order to combat that, this week I indulged scheduled in some “me” time for running with my pups when I should have been doing school work.  I am working very hard to retrain myself, including making changes to my vocabulary.  The word should is a giant load of shit – there is absolutely nothing I should do except be true to myself, and that simply doesn’t include drowning myself under a giant pile of prep work and marking – so I’m going to attempt to eliminate the should.  I also plan to stop viewing the time I schedule in for exercise as an indulgence, because it isn’t one.  Exercise is a necessity and I have every right to value my own health at least as much as I value doing my job well.One way that I plan to take better care of myself is to stop trying to be perfect at school.  Perfection is unattainable, especially in a career where more things are added to the To Do list than are ticked off of it each day.  I am not exaggerating about this in the slightest – if you don’t believe me, go befriend a high school English teacher.  In order to actually meet her, you will likely have to lurk outside her vehicle in the school parking lot from 7 to 9pm, as she isn’t likely to be spending much time anywhere else…but I digress.  The point here is that the ridiculous expectations of my career are not going to change (at least not for the better – we’ve already been told that staff cuts are coming next year and class sizes will only get larger).  Since the expectations aren’t going to change, I will have to focus on the things that I can control.  Maybe I have to mark less assignments, or have kids do more peer editing.  Maybe I have to just go home, even if tomorrow’s lesson isn’t fully planned.  Maybe I have to ask for an altered teaching assignment so that I’m not teaching every single English class in the high school.  Maybe I have to accept that I just can’t do everything, and that is okay.  This will be extremely hard for me, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

Vacuuming DOES NOT make me this happy

As part of this “taking care of me” business, I made a snap decision this week that literally filled me with joy.  I decided to hire a cleaning lady.  I am sure that there are going to be people who judge me for that, but I just don’t give a rat’s ass.  Between prepping, teaching and marking, I work around 55+ hours per week; I also teach two fitness classes (soon to be three), run with my dogs as often as possible, fit in a yoga practice whenever I can, and take care of all the regular things involved in running a household, like paying bills, doing laundry and keeping the house clean.  On top of all that, I’ve been doing Yoga Teacher Training every few weekends, and making room for a bunch of crappy medical appointments (which means making sub plans!), so something’s gotta give.  That something is cleaning the toilet.  Oh, and vacuuming.  I can do without the vacuuming.

This is how I actually feel about vacuuming

The cleaning lady starts just after we get back from our Jamaican holiday.  I am beyond ecstatic about this…probably much more excited than a person should get about housework.  I deserve this.  It is time to get serious, and stop taking myself so seriously.

Emerging from the Hibernation

Hello lovely blog readers!

I have not gone into hibernation, I promise – although I’ve certainly been away from you for far too long, and the gorgeous weather of late reminds me of hibernating creatures waking from their slumber and stumbling out into the glorious sunshine.  Sincerest apologies, but sometimes a mini hiatus just cannot be helped.  The life of a High School English teacher (who has zero prep time) simply does not lend itself to blogging daily.  Especially during progress report time.  In addition, I’ve been dealing with some other “time suckers;” I believe that I mentioned some medical issues a few posts back, and they are exactly what I’m referring to.  I’ve got two entirely separate, but fairly serious medical problems right now.  One of them I am not quite ready to speak about publicly (but it is not life-threatening, so please don’t worry!), and the other is a tumor on my liver.  Now, I know that the word “tumor” can be awfully frightening, so let me start by telling you that my specialist DOES NOT believe that my tumor is cancerous.  He does, however, think that it needs to be surgically removed.  I had a biopsy this past Friday so that we can learn more about the mass, but I don’t have the results back yet, so I am still not sure when I will need to go for surgery.  I don’t imagine that the surgery will be scheduled immediately, as Cancer patients with more pressing needs will obviously take priority, but other than that, I have no idea about timelines.

What I do know is that the recovery period from such a surgery can be a rather lengthy process, where intense physical activity must be avoided.  That likely means no running, no yoga and no weight training.  Yuck.  Now is not the time to stress about these things, though – I will cross that bridge when I get to it.  For now, I will focus on being as active and healthy as I can, and I’m sure that everything else will fall exactly into place in due time.

With all of that being said, I hope that you can forgive me for not posting in over a week.  While life in the next while will still be nutty for me, it looks as though it will slow down at least a tiny bit.  I will try to post at least every 3 or 4 days from now on…and if I don’t, well, I think you can handle it.  🙂

I hope the rest of your week is fabulous!

Lions and Tigers and Handstand, Oh My!

I just got home from an intense weekend of Yoga Teacher Training.  I have such a love/hate relationship with these weekends.  This weekend was EXACTLY what I needed to refocus what is important in my life: my loved ones, my health and my sanity.  I started to write about my love/hate relationship with the teacher training weekends, but as soon as I wrote it, I realized that it wasn’t really true.  There is no doubt that these weekends are draining; we complete a physical asana practice for 2.5-3 hours each day, and then do a lot of book/lecture type learning and posture labs.  Yoga teacher training is not easy (and I’m glad of that, or ANYONE could be a yoga teacher), and the weekends are quite taxing on both a physical and mental level.  I’m finding this especially difficult given how hectic the rest of my life has been as of late, but I really believe that the training is also exactly what I need to slow down my life (even if it is a lot of extra work right now!).  This weekend has reminded me how important yoga has become for me, and even though I’ve been busy lately, yoga really isn’t the thing that I want to let slide in order to make room for it all.  Why not?  Well that answer is simple:  when life is hectic, yoga (and snuggling with my husband when we actually get to see each other!) is the only thing that brings peace and calmness to my crazy.  I learned today that the way to change your practice for the better is to practice vigorously, often and for a long time.  The vigorous and the often I can make happen right now, and the long time will only come if I continue to practice!  I can – and WILL – make adjustments in other ways so that I can continue to improve my practice – that is what is right for me right now.

Learning from Catherine Munro – who is unbelievably amazing – is so perfect for me, because even though I wish I was familiar with more of the poses already (like most of the others in my class are), I also realize that I have the benefit of learning these new poses the right way the very first time I do them.  That means that my practice will continue to improve, and I can be confident that I am receiving excellent instruction every time I go for another weekend of training.  Plus, she works us REALLY hard, so I can be sure that I am building strength and burning calories every single time I take a class with Catherine!

We worked on inversions this weekend, specifically Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand), Sirsasana (Headstand) and Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand – pictured to the left).  With the exception of trying an assisted handstand in a workshop a few months ago with Catherine, I had never done any of these poses before this weekend.  They were terrifying, but I got up into all of them (with help, obviously – I don’t think it’s actually possible to do this shit without assistance unless you’ve been practicing for a WHILE!).  Apparently Handstand is the pose that is most frightening for the majority of people, but I wasn’t that nervous about it.  I found it kind of exciting, actually, and like the others, it was very invigorating.  The pose that freaked me out more than any other was Pincha; maybe because the floor was so close to my face, I was afraid my nose was going to smash down into the hardwood…but it didn’t, so we’re all good.  I will definitely be practicing this pose (and the others, too) in order to gain some confidence with it.  The biggest obstacle that I see here is needing help to get up into the pose, and since I don’t practice in a yoga studio, and my husband is out-of-town for work a lot, that might be tough.  I WILL find a way, though.  If you happen to stop by for a visit, I might just put you to work helping me to get my legs in the air!

Sunrise Sweat

It’s official – I am clinically insane.  I am not sure how I can possibly fit more on my plate right now, but I am going to try!

I’ve been team teaching an “Early Rise Circuit” class on Thursday mornings, but due to a previous booking in the gym space, we are unable to continue after our session is up this week.  A few of the ladies in my class asked if I would be continuing, so I did some thinking and crunched some numbers.  Partly because I’m an idiot, but mostly because I truly love sharing fitness with others, I decided to give it a shot.

That meant that I had to find another space to hold the class, put out some ads, and purchase some small equipment of my own with which to run a class.  All of that is no problem at all.  The insane part?  The other woman who I was team teaching with was not interested in striking out on her own…so I agreed to teach both Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Just to provide some perspective, I am a high school English teacher who currently has zero prep time.  ZERO.  Work monopolizes my life:  it is currently 11:00 pm and I arrived home from work 56 minutes ago.  I just finished eating my dinner.  Anyone who honestly believes that teachers work from 9-3:30 deserves to be smacked upside the head.  But I digress…

I found a space (at the school where I teach, actually!), the ad came out in yesterday’s local paper, and I will be purchasing some of my own stuff this coming weekend.  The class is called “Sunrise Sweat,” and it starts next week.  There is no turning back now.  Oh boy.

Motivation Meltdown

I’ve read a lot of posts tonight about having a lack of motivation, and as much as I hate to hear about others who are struggling, it is nice to know that I’m not alone.  This past week has been VERY tough on me:  I am into my no-prep semester, which means that I am teaching full days, without any breaks at all.  There are four class sessions within my day, and because of split classes, I am now teaching six classes in a four period day.  I spent the majority of the weekend at school just trying to stay on top of things.  On top of that, I am also teaching the morning fitness classes (and contemplating adding in one more per week), plus managing our household and taking care of the dogs on my own.  My darling husband is still working out-of-town, so for the time being it is all on me.  Add to that my own homework to stay on top of my yoga teacher training, and I’m beginning to feel like I may have “bitten off more than I can chew.”  It’s been tough, to say the least, but I have managed to fit in a few good workouts this week!

I got in two good runs on the weekend and had a great yoga class tonight.  Monday was my rest day, so I had every intention of running Tuesday morning, but my body decided that it needed an extra hour of sleep instead.  Sometimes you just have to listen when your body tells you to slow down, I guess!

I teach my circuit class at 6:15 tomorrow morning (I will be off to bed very soon!), and I have a few more good workouts planned for the rest of the week, so I am still mostly on track…sometimes it’s just a lot more difficult finding the energy to fit in a good sweat session than I want it to be.

But let’s conjure up the positive, shall we?  I have managed to fit in some good workouts amid the chaos, I’m rather enjoying the students in my new classes, and I’ve been able to eat well and (mostly) stick to Cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet.  Really, I amazingly successful!